The new Barracuda family was announced today – you can check out the press release here – and it takes a different approach than previous Seagate products. You’ll notice that this Barracuda doesn’t tout itself as being the “greenest” like the Barracuda Green or the “fastest” like Barracuda XT. Nope, those drives are actually going away, and the new Barracuda instead uses a combination of design elements and morphs itself into one new drive family.
The idea here is to take the best high-capacity features and performance and make a single drive family that can satisfy the needs of all desktop users, whether it’s delivering rich content or running a business. So you no longer need to decide which category of drive you need – just pick the capacity (from 250GB to 3TB). The rest will be there in the new specs (7,200RPM, the 6Gb/s SATA interface, 64MB cache, SmartAlign 4K).
So why would Seagate now go in this other direction and seemingly give customers fewer choices?
Part of the answer can be found with our customers, both OEM and channel, as it’s what they requested. And why would they do that?
Well, let’s look at OEMs first. When an OEM manufacturer is interested in integrating a drive into a desktop system that they create, the process is known as qualification. During qualification, the drive is put through hundreds of hours of testing to make sure it is fully interoperable with their system. This process is not only time consuming, but also costly and requires many engineers and resources. So you can see the benefits that an OEM has if it doesn’t have to spend more time and money qualifying multiple types of drives.
For the channel, the benefits vary depending on whether we’re talking about a reseller or system integrator (and that includes smaller OEMs who purchase from the channel). A reseller has to maintain different SKUs in inventory, so doesn’t it make sense that a reseller would benefit from having a less complex inventory of drives to deal with? It’s not only easier to manage, but also means less training required for staff as well to get them up to speed on multiple product line features/benefits.
And then there are system integrators and smaller OEMs who purchase from the channel. While the qualification processes may not always be as lengthy as the larger OEMs, there’s no doubt that many of them will go through a qualification process that will still be very involved and rigorous. Think about it if it was your company. That’s your name and reputation that’s on the line!
We think this new strategy is empowering, so much so that you’ll see campaigns around this and the new Barracuda called, “The Power of One” coming in the months ahead.
If you’re a skeptic, you may think this is a “one size fits all” strategy that leaves gaps. But we like to think the approach is really more akin to being a “greatest hits” of technology – employing the features and technologies that users want which can best benefit them for the widest range of their storage needs.
What’s your take on Seagate’s new approach to simplifying its desktop range?